Is recreating tables part of translation?
Thread poster: DIANNE BEREST

DIANNE BEREST  Identity Verified
Montenegro
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 21, 2015

Hello all. I have completed a translation for a fairly new customer. They are happy with the translation but are asking me to recreate some visual elements. (I just left the original images in the translation and typed in the translation of the text below.) There are few of them and it's not a big deal - a matter of using text boxes on top of the original text in the images, adding some arrows here and there... That's about it. I usually do this, but several colleagues have said that it's not part of translation and it does take time and the real issue is that I don't want to spoil the customer and for them to expect this always if, in fact, it isn't my job as the translator to do this. Your thoughts please? Thanks!

 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:55
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
It's extra work Oct 21, 2015

As this is extra work and can be quite fiddly to do, I charge for it at my hourly rate. If it is something that only takes up to 15 minutes, then I waive the charge. That also saves having to calculate the word count for non-editable text in the source document.

[Edited at 2015-10-21 14:11 GMT]


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:55
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Simply weave in the extra time to the rate you charge. Oct 21, 2015

Since formatting tables (or having to do things like create text boxes and place text in them, take screenshots of portions of pdf files and place them in word files, etc.) take extra time, then you ought to take this into account in the rate you offer for jobs involving such extra work. If needed, you can explain to the client why you are charging a higher rate per word for a ten-page document involving re-creation of tables on 6 pages than you would for a ten-page document involving only text.

You just have to calculate roughly how much extra time the formatting will take to determine how much extra you will charge.

Not taking such factors into account makes absolutely no sense, as it means you are providing considerable extra service for no additional compensation.

As regards the case you describe, you can explain that you've provided the extra service free of charge this time, but that you will be assessing a charge for it next time.


 

DIANNE BEREST  Identity Verified
Montenegro
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Oct 21, 2015

Just want to thank you for your input. What you say makes sense. I'll take in into account for future jobs and make it clear to this customer that this is a one-time deal. Thanks very much.

 

Dani Karuniawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:55
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Re-creation Oct 21, 2015

Dianne Berest wrote:

Hello all. I have completed a translation for a fairly new customer. They are happy with the translation but are asking me to recreate some visual elements. (I just left the original images in the translation and typed in the translation of the text below.) There are few of them and it's not a big deal - a matter of using text boxes on top of the original text in the images, adding some arrows here and there... That's about it. I usually do this, but several colleagues have said that it's not part of translation and it does take time and the real issue is that I don't want to spoil the customer and for them to expect this always if, in fact, it isn't my job as the translator to do this. Your thoughts please? Thanks!


You mean re-creating service. It is one of translation branch. Some translators take re-creation as their specialty to stand amid the crowd providing standard translation service and to survive in this "jungle"

You work twice if you accept it.
1) standard translation service.
2) re-creation service.

Will you charge him? It's up to you. I suggest "No", because his demands give you a lesson about this service.

In future, you should split the service and ask the client whether he need standard or re-creation service.

[Edited at 2015-10-21 16:53 GMT]


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:55
English to Polish
+ ...
No Oct 21, 2015

You're a translator, not a file localizer. If you agreed to actually do a full localization of a computer file as opposed to translating the text (check with your PO and framework contract with the agency), then you may need to do some such things, but in that case clients should generally be a bit more serious and not really give you a non-editable PDF file to work with.

From an agency's perspective the 'base interest' is to maximize income/return by charging as much as possible while doing as little as possible, hence it is in the agency's financial interest to at least try and delegate low-skill time-consuming task to you rather than doing them inhouse, as it costs nothing to try (few translators would do anything more drastic than just simply declining the request).

I'm not saying this is evil, I'm saying it's in the agency's financial interest, while it obviously is inconsistent with your own financial interest. And there's no real objective need for you as the translator to personally do it or personally manage someone else who will do it for you.

Translators translate texts, they don't prepare files or documents even.


 

DIANNE BEREST  Identity Verified
Montenegro
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again! Oct 22, 2015

Thanks to Dani and Lukasz! Taking all this into account.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:55
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just in theory... Oct 22, 2015

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
Translators translate texts, they don't prepare files or documents even.

Well, that is true at least in theory. In daily practice, customers expect translators to take care of everything and we have to sharpen our IT abilities in order to provide the extra service, naturally for a charge.

Universities are also recognising that translators have to be ready to comply with this kind of requests and their curricula already include subjects on extensive use of software tools for all kinds of purposes, not just translating.

Personally I always prefer to spend my time translating, but when customer satisfaction depends on shoveling in graphics editing or formatting, I don't really mind.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:55
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, it is part of translation Oct 22, 2015

Dianne Berest wrote:
I usually do this, but several colleagues have said that it's not part of translation and it does take time...


Different clients have different expectations, and unfortunately most translators do not specify beforehand what their service includes. I would think that if neither party excludes anything from the translation, then it must be assumed that the translator must/will deliver a translation that is in the same format as the source document... and that includes formatting.

That said, I think there are some unspoken assumptions in this industry, e.g. that the translator is not responsible for recreating images that contain words. And even that is just an assumption, that holds true only until you get that one client who had thought that that service was included.

I think clients should recognise that it is not always possible for the translator to foresee all the problems he'll have with the document, and if there is something in the file that the translator can't do properly (e.g. complex text boxes, or e.g. bookmarks), then the translator should tell the client as soon as he realises it.

If you can do the "extra" work, and if you can do it quickly, then I would encourage you to do it. After all, the client may not be the originator of that document, in other words the client may not be able to recreate those elements himself, and that is why he hired a person claiming skills in MS Word.

... and the real issue is that I don't want to spoil the customer and for them to expect this always if, in fact, it isn't my job as the translator to do this.


Well, that easy: "Recreation of graphical elements is not usually part of my translation service, but I'll do it this time."


 


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Is recreating tables part of translation?

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